U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Crime Spillover

NCJ Number
S Hakim, G F Rengert
Date Published
151 pages
This book reviews current research that focuses on criminal spatial mobility, with an emphasis on crime spillover (crime displacement) as viewed from an economic perspective.
The introductory chapter discusses the economic perspective of criminal behavior and considers measurement problems and policy considerations. The second paper sets the stage for the subsequent analyses by providing a general overview of criminal mobility, crime spillover, and the policy implications of these criminal movement patterns. This is followed by two short theoretical works, with the first illustrating the existence of an equilibrium in public expenditure for crime control by adjacent localities in the presence of crime spillover and interjurisdictional competition in crime control. The second theoretical work places the problem of crime spillover into a welfare economic perspective that focuses on the problem of economic externalities associated with public expenditures for crime control. The next four works are empirical studies. Mehay expands his earlier seminal work by incorporating 'profitability' of crime with the risk of arrest to determine incentives for crime displacement in Los Angeles. Police consolidation is concluded to have little effect on the magnitude of crime displacement. Another work argues that when law enforcement activity is considered in absolute rather than relative terms, crime displacement effects are negligible in the Boston area. A third study examines the actual movement of juvenile delinquents in Los Angeles and concludes that these criminals are sensitive to areal variations in wealth and law enforcement effort. The fourth empirical study demonstrates the importance of relative location (crime potential) to a criminal population in determining the victimization of a community. The concluding paper synthesizes the conclusions of the works and suggests possible policy implications. The empirical studies are accompanied by tabular data, and references are provided. For individual entries, see NCJ 85382-88.